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Romanian Berthier Carbine Conversions

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Romanian had more than a million rifles in its inventory after World War One, but they were mused between Mannlicher 88/90, Mannlicher 95, Mosin Nagant, and Berthier patterns – and they were almost all rifles and not carbines. In order to make practical use of all these arms, it was decided to allocate them geographically rather than try to standardize on one single type. The southern state of Wallachia got the guns in 8mm Lebel; Berthier rifles (obtained from Franc in 1916 to rebuild the Romanian Army) and Hotchkiss and Chauchat machine guns.

To address the shortage of carbines, long rifles were cut down. For the Berthiers, this conversion left the original rear sight intact. The original muzzle was cut off, bored out, and sleeved over the new muzzle, allowing the carbine to use the standard original Berthier rifle bayonet. The front sight was topped with a windage-adjustable barleycorn. The rear sling swivel was removed, and replaced with a sling bar in the left side of the stock. Finally, the bolt handle was bent down.

A total of approximately 9,500 Berthiers were converted into carbines this way in the mid/late 1930s, with 9,200 of them completed as of 1938. Very few would survive World War Two however, and they are very scarce today both inside Romania and elsewhere.

Thanks to the King Ferdinand I Military Museum for giving me access to this example, and to A.N.C.A. for coordinating the visit! If you are in Bucharest, make sure to stop in and visit the museum:

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